One to World:
Device Expansion for the Classroom
Did you know students in Bloomfield Hills Schools carry hundreds, if not thousands, of books and resources to and from school each day? The latest district investment called "One to World" has recently put iPads in the hands of teachers and students kindergarten to 8th grade.
"One to World" stands for the ratio of one student or teacher to a world of information they are able to access with this new project. The district has long understood the value of technology as a means of expanding and enhancing both teaching and learning. This value was underscored during the BHS Foundation's grant process when teachers overwhelmingly requested funding for technology to support instruction.
Dave Shulkin, Director of Learning & Performance Technology, noted that, "Through our three year assessment we found that our students could only access technology about 50% of the time during a typical school week. And it was clear that teachers and students needed more access to digital tools and resources that not only could meet their current learning needs, but extend those resources beyond the school day."
At the elementary level, iPad minis are shared between students at a 2:1 ratio and teachers each received an iPad Air. The middle school students received an iPad Air to use at school and at home. The iPad distribution began this November, though middle school teachers have been 1:1 with iPads since the summer of 2013.
"Our educators understand that using technology as an enhancement tool, both in the classroom and at home, provides the opportunity for students to become increasingly active learners and independent thinkers," said Superintendent Rob Glass.
Through a handful of pilot groups testing similar devices, iPads continue to be the device of choice, as they provide a robust system with a large support network and overall flexibility within different learning environments.
"People may wonder how we are able to fund this incredible step forward," said Glass. "This investment is made possible by utilizing money from our capital improvements fund, which is a strategic investment savings account, started years ago, to preserve forward momentum. We know we have some tough budget conversations ahead of us, related to the general fund, especially as a result of the recent decisions made in Lansing," he said, "but we should always take steps forward in the classroom, doing what's right for our students and our teachers. The generous support of our community allows us to keep moving forward, even in a time of public school financial uncertainty."
The program offers significant benefits by reducing the amount of paper communication used, utilizing digital curriculum in lieu of purchasing text books, and closing the digital access gap to nearly 0%. More importantly, iPads put a powerful learning tool in the hands of students, assist teachers in demonstrating complex concepts, and allow for a more personalized and collaborative learning environment.
"This is an investment in our students, the work our teachers have already been doing, and in our future as a district," said Glass. "We have to think about the jobs for which we are preparing our students, because most of them don't yet exist in the marketplace," he added. "Providing our students and teachers with a uniform technology platform expands our ability to provide the most effective and comprehensive learning possible."